FAME THE MUSICAL IN REVIEW

Published on 15th Oct, 2010

WOW! Energy in Overdrive and Dynamic Dance Numbers – Fame the Musical ticks all the boxes for me! Fame is one of those musicals that resonates with all young performers. It’s about aiming for the top, aspiring to be great and reaching for the stars so that one day you’ll be ‘livin’ the dream’, or in their words ‘live forever and learn how to fly – high!’.

For the young performers in this cast they are living the dream and not for a moment do they drop their enthusiasm or excitement. This is a massive undertaking for the dancers. The dance numbers keep coming, the pace, accuracy and timing of the choreography is relentless and it never stops for the entirety of the show.

Coming from a dance background I absolutely love what Kelley Abbey has done with this show. Abbey has revisited the role of choreographer (Fame – the Musical 1999) as well as this time, making her directorial debut. The beauty of this, having a dance oriented director, means the show is very dance driven. Abbey has injected new dance numbers, fleshed out original numbers and really revamped this old favourite. Abbey has brought Fame into the 21st century in more ways than one by utilising multi media, a mixture of dance styles, keeping the undertones of the 80s fashions and choreographic style and adding a big dollop of 2010 freshness. Abbey’s choreography has it’s own trademark style. As a choreographer, style recognition becomes almost a brand, think Balanchine, Fosse, Robbins and MJ. Well for me, watching Fame was like feeling the spirit of Kelley Abbey coming through the production. The dancers have embraced her way of executing steps and it’s fantastic to watch. Abbey is the ‘A’ in the A-list of choreographers in this country.

The cast of dancers are HOT! They are young, dynamic and buzzing! With 8 members from the hit TV show ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, audiences will be excited to star spot their favourites from the reality show. 2009 Winner, Talia Fowler takes on the beautiful ballet student ‘Iris Kelly’ and what a fitting role, Fowler has beautiful balletic line and poise and really owns the part. Love interest ‘Tyrone Jackson’, is the popping, locking, hip hop artist Tim ‘Timomatic’ Omaji, who has charisma plus plus and performs a sensational number ‘Dancin’ on the Sidewalk’ where he is front and centre and for a few minutes we feel transported to a ‘Timomatic’ concert. I felt like we were witnessing Australia’s answer to Usher. Keep your eye on this guy he’s seriously moving and shaking – one to watch!

Tony Award winning Lillias White plays ‘Miss Sherman’ and the power and strength of her voice is showcased in the solo ‘These Are My Children’. Rowena Vilar takes on the lead role of Carmen Diaz and is truly amazing, dances full pelt and then busts out these incredible notes!

The musical includes a string of well known songs including: ‘I Want to Make Magic’, ‘There She Goes!’, ‘Bring on Tomorrow’ and of course ‘Fame’.

Yes, I can hear some of you saying it’s all a bit camp and hammy with minimal to no plot but this show is not about sub-text, character arcs and a thought provoking script – and it’s not trying to be – it’s about capturing the day to day of adolescents at a performing arts school and that’s it. It’s a journey that’s fairly light on but that’s why it’s a musical and not a play so head along for a rockin’ out, up beat, dance-on-your-feet style show because this cast delivers plus plus!!

Emma Bell is a writer, reviewer and interviewer and can be found at www.emmabell.com.au

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